What to Expect and How to Prepare For Your Session
The portrait process takes place in three parts. The Pre-Session Consultation, the Photo Session, and the Preview & Ordering appointment. Our process begins with the pre-session consultation, where we plan your session and discuss how you want to display your images. Planning ahead helps ensure that we achieve the best results. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to the consultation, so I have a starting point for your expectations and goals.
This is where we talk about goals; what you would like to achieve, how you would like to display your images, what products you are interested in, colors, design, backdrops, props, or location planning if we are planning an outdoor or lifestyle shoot.
The pre-consultation answers all your questions and helps us get to know you and your fur baby. We will coordinate how we shoot the session with what the desired final outcome in mind. Pre-consultations can take place in-person or on the phone.
SHOOTS AT THE STUDIO OR ON-LOCATION
Shoots can sometimes be stressful for dogs, so we want to take the time to let your dog relax and get to know the space. We spend the first 15 minutes or so just letting your dog become accustomed to the environment, the equipment, and me. For studio sessions, we work with controlled studio lighting as well as simple props and a variety of backdrops. On-location sessions can be in your backyard, local park, or in your home. I bring a variety of equipment to deal with any lighting situation. We also offer a studio experience in your own home. We bring all the equipment, backdrops, lighting, etc. and you provide the space to set up. Our focus is on you and your dog having a wonderful and relaxing portrait experience, so we bring out their true personality and dynamic. We take frequent little breaks to make sure you and your dog do not get tired or stressed.
VIEWING AND ORDERING APPOINTMENT
Viewing appointments will be scheduled approximately 1 to 2 weeks after the session. This is the time when you see all your final images and make decisions on your portrait order. The ordering appointment usually takes place at the studio, but can also take place at a mutually convenient location or even your home. It is however recommended that you attend this appointment at the studio, where you will be able to check out a variety of samples of the many products available and see your images on a calibrated monitor. We’ll help you sort through the images and make final decisions on what will look best with your decor and what fits your lifestyle. Specializing in custom Eco-products, we take the guesswork out of choosing ethically and environmentally friendly products. I carefully selected the perfect product line that balances Eco-minded art with exceptional archival quality. To learn more about our product line, check out Products in the menu above. We will work with you to choose your custom artwork, so you won’t be overwhelmed with options.
PREPARING FOR YOUR SESSION
- For the weeks coming up to your session, work with your dog on sit/stay commands. Use positive reinforcement and practice daily in short intervals (10-15 minutes).
- Plan to exercise your dog BEFORE the session. Just enough exercise to alleviate any over-excitement, but not so much that they are worn out for the session.
- Don’t feed your dog a full meal before a shoot; otherwise they will be less alert and most likely in the mood for a nap.
- I provide a variety of homemade healthy treats, so there is no need to bring any. We try not to use treats until after the session, as dogs can become fixated on them and may also salivate more than usual; not so nice in photos 😉 Please let me know if your dog has any allergies.
- Your dog should be bathed two days before and brushed out the day before. You know how your dog will look his or her best, but if you do choose to have your dog trimmed, we recommend you have that done a week before the sitting rather than on the same day in case the cut is too short, or not exactly what you expected. This allows a little time to grow out. A grooming and portrait session on the same day can also be a lot of stress for many dogs.
- If you are doing an in-studio session, please be sure to trim your dog’s nails to avoid any scratches or damage to furniture, props, or flooring.
- Bring a toy or two that your dog loves! Bring any other items you want your dog photographed with; special collar, toy, blanket, etc.
- If your dog is wearing clothing for the session, make sure to try it on prior to the session to be sure it fits and is comfortable. I do not recommend dressing dogs up unless they are used to wearing clothes regularly and enjoy it!
- If you opt for a location that requires leashes, try to bring a very thin 4-6 foot simple leash (not retractable), since it is thin enough that removing the leash in post-processing is much easier. I always carry a few show leads with me, so don’t worry if you don’t have a thin leash. Avoid bright colors, or thick collars unless the collar has special significance and you want it to stand out.
- Your tone of voice and body language translate very effectively to your dog and their mood. Use compassionate authority. Never discipline or yell at your dog during a session, this will only increase their anxiety. With soothing talk, positive reinforcement and patient repetition, your dog will eventually figure out what you want him to do.
- Please make us aware of any aggression issues your dog may have so that we can be sensitive to those concerns. We understand that some dogs have special needs; aggression, anxiety, fear of new things, nervousness/timidity, etc., but we will discuss all of these issues in the pre-shoot consultation.
- PLEASE NOTE: If doing a studio session, some dogs can be sensitive to the studio lights. Most dogs get used to it after a couple flashes, but some just won’t tolerate it. In the event this happens, we will reschedule and do an outdoor session.
We want you and your dog to enjoy the experience and get wonderful pieces of art for your home! Please contact me with any other questions you may have.
READY TO BOOK YOUR SESSION?
To reserve your date, click here or go to the contact button above – most sessions are booked between Friday and Sunday, so plan in advance. Session fee is due at the time of booking and is non-refundable. We also require a signed contract and model release before your session (you will receive these electronically once you are scheduled). In the event of inclement weather or illness, we are happy to reschedule your session, but we ask that you give us at least 24 hours notice. No-shows or last-minute cancellations are subject to a $50 rescheduling fee.
We accept cash, checks, and all major credit cards securely through Paypal. All Prices subject to change without notice. All prices subject to State Sales Tax.